Seismoscopes had already existed for a while before the first expedient seismometers were constructed at the end of the 18th century. The most famous one, which every undergraduate student of geosciences knows, is Zang Hêng's (also referred to as Chôko and Tyoko “didongy” (earth movement instrument) of A.D. 132 (Dewey and Byerly 1969). An educational summary of early seismological instrumentation can be found at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/seismology/history/history.

It was not until the 19th century that real new developments of seismoscopes were made. Among seismologists experimenting with seismoscopes was Wilhelm Hiller (Figure 1). After studying mathematics and physics, at the...

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